2016 is halfway over, and technology has clearly taken center stage as companies have shifted their IT mindsets from seeing it as a simple cost center to viewing it as a critical line-of-business asset. For IT professionals, the sheer number of potential tech trends in 2015 quickly became overwhelming — where do you focus your attention, and why? What trends in IT will provide the greatest potential to grow your business? Here's a quick rundown of five top IT trends we’re seeing this year…and into next.
Training the Future
According to InfoWorld, one key consequence of an increasingly cloud-based world is the need for better IT training. While many post-secondary institutions now offer cloud-specific courses and degree tracks, the demand for cloud professionals far outstrips even this new supply. As a result, expect next year to come with an explosion of after-market programs offering in-depth training and certification to bring existing IT professionals up to speed with new technologies.
The hybrid cloud has enjoyed significant hype over the last few years, with tech pundits and IT pros alike predicting a phase-out of pure private- or public-cloud plays. However, reality hasn't matched expectations — until now. With open-source offerings like Open Stack now able to stand toe-to-toe with big private offerings and cloud technology as a whole evolving to meet on-demand security and network needs, expect the remainder of the year to see a real hybrid cloud push as companies see the benefit in running multiple cloud services at once — each with a unique purpose.
While many businesses have become comfortable deploying apps in the cloud after development, much of the application lifecycle still happens on local stacks. Improved security and the granular control over cloud services, however, offer IT professionals an alternative: Move the entire application lifecycle into the cloud rather than dividing the process into multiple stages across differing platforms. Pushback is happening here — C-suite execs sometimes resist the migration of high-value apps to cloud servers — but the value of truly agile development, testing and distribution can't be overstated.
As predicted by Entrepreneur, workplaces have seen an increase of employee-worn devices this year. Preliminary results are promising; for example, logistics company DHL reported a productivity jump of 25% after shipping handlers were issued smart glasses. Mobile devices are now commonplace, and it's not much of a jump to imagine watches, trackers or glasses offering another way for employees to collect, curate and leverage big data. For IT pros, security becomes a key focus: expect access management and authentication services to see significant boosts as the year winds down.
As workers become accustomed to working across multiple “screens” — including desktops, laptops, mobile devices and wearables — there's a greater need for inter-screen communication that provides seamless integration of data and features, regardless of device. This is a subset of unified communications (UC) technology; employees and executives now demand a consistent user experience no matter their location, the time of day or the platform they choose. Already, developers like Microsoft have rolled out operating systems that provide the foundation of this functionality — expect greater diversity in software and consistency in user experience as 2017 rolls around.
Wondering which trends to track from now until December? Cloud training, hybrid deployments, a new app lifecycle, workplace wearables and inter-screen communication are all worth watching, and have the potential to make your operation more efficient.